Recently, I stirred up some confusion when I made a comment about Made In China clones.
The word that many skipped over is the key word–CLONES.
I don’t condone the reselling of a cloth diaper design that you did not design and yet claim you did.
I don’t condone using someone’s design without their permission.
I don’t condone the unscrupulous acts of Chinese factories who see a design without a Chinese patent and mass produce it for wholesalers to re-brand at their own accord.
However, I don’t have ANY problems with a US business seeking manufacturing oversees.
While some manufacturers choose to use factories outside of the US to keep their costs reasonable to the consumer, there are steps we can take to ensure that we are buying from a reputable company. For starters most manufactures are more than happy to address your concerns. A reputable company has visited the factory themselves and can explain to you what steps are taken to ensure that the employees are treated respectfully, paid an ethical wage, and work in safe conditions. Most owners care just as much as you do about these issues. ~Calley of The Eco Chic
My intent with this post is to help readers understand that whether a cloth diaper is made in China or not isn’t the real question.
I want you to realize that sometimes if a diaper “looks just like a Rumparooz” (or XYZ diaper) then it probably is a copy to some degree.
Which leads me to the next point, “aren’t all cloth diapers a copy of another brand? there are only so many options out there.” I’ve said this very thing myself before. I remember in 2006 or 2007 a big controversy over Fuzzi Bunz copies. I was so irritated that people were up in arms over where the pocket of a cloth diaper opened and how the snap alignment sat.
I agree that there are only so many ways a cloth diaper can be designed. The same can be said for a smartphone. I rolled my eyes a few months ago when I read about Apple’s legal team shutting people down and buying up patents like five cent candy to protect their iPhone design.
We take pride in our manufacturing and have yet to find the same standards met at any factory, world wide. We have both used and visited our fair share of other factories in both the US and internationally, and our conditions have not been topped.When a family choses cloth diapers, no matter the brand, they are saving over the cost and use of disposables. However, some may chose to maximize their savings and consider a higher end cloth diaper, like the Rumparooz, out of their budget. There is still a place for cheap cloth diapers in the market, as cloth diapering is a privilege that every family should have. We know that the cloth diapering parent is very smart and they educate themselves thoughoughly on the types, style, care info, etc of cloth diapers. We would ask that they also make it a point to research where that “cheap cloth diaper” is coming from. The “clones” are being pumped off the assembly lines in China like wild fire. We have seen our fair share of wanna-be-rumparooz. It doesn’t matter if they copy the pattern right down to the stitch, or if they simple reproduce the patent pending features of the inner gussets, they are still copy cats. Or clones. The design is not their own, as much as they claim it to be and slap their label on it. Is that $5, $8, $14 diaper supporting a family? Ethical wages? Beautiful working conditions? It isn’t even possible to source the materials, pay the quality manufacturing and import the product to the US for those prices, so Ill let you answer that question.We spend months and years developing products that are unique and absolutely original. It costs thousands of dollars to make sure that each product is thoroughly tested and meets and exceeds the standards of the CPSIA. Clone diaper companies that import in small batches frequently do not get bothered about compliance and neither can they afford it either. The cost to have a product tested, each production run tested no matter if it was the same product you made 6 months ago, contributes significantly to the value of the diaper. When a diaper is more expensive the consumer does not always realize that extra security built into that price tag.
Working conditions in China are not fair and optimal. It isn’t a nasty rumor that Chinese factory workers are paid practically nothing, work ridiculously long hours without breaks and in conditions that are oftentimes unhealthy. Does this mean every Chinese factory is this way? No.
It is ultimately up to you the consumer to do your research before buying a product, any product. If your conscience is clear then buy it guilt free! There’s no condemnation in that!
The bigger question for me isn’t where the cloth diaper is made but the ethics around the product.
The ethical part of this equation is an obvious one, but another serious concern about “clone diapers” is the quality. As cloth diaper users, advocates and makers, we want and need brands to be of the utmost quality so that the industry and the product “cloth diaper” is positive and well represented. I have met many mothers who have purchased low quality diapers because of the attractive pricing, only to find that they under-performed and the families were left with no choice but to trash or give away the diapers as a result. These are families that were already on a budget and trying to save money by using cloth, but were then turned off as a result of poor quality brands that look like the rest. That breaks my heart to see, but it is the sad reality of the onslaught of “knock-off” brands dirtying the waters of the growing cloth diaper industry. As ethical consumers, we have a responsibility to make choices that not only benefit us, but that do no harm to others.~Amanda of The Eco Friendly Family
A similar analogy would be many of the multi-level marketing parties we’ve all attended at one time or another. Whether it be purses, Christian clothing or supplements; if you go to enough parties you begin to think you are seeing the same thing over and over.
I remember years ago when my husband and I were considering a MLM business and they kept saying “Do your due diligence!” I’m very glad they did because I discovered through my research that they weren’t what they made themselves out to be.
Emi of The Cloth Diaper Report adds to this saying,
Each representative is selling basically the same products at around the same price, and they are really representing the brand (or diaper factory in this case) rather than their own unique inventions.
This can be be deceiving to a cloth diapering newbie or other consumers who are not exposed to a high number of brands because they have different labels or minute differences so can appear to be different products. It is not a matter of whether or not you should support these brands, but rather making sure that consumers are educated and informed as to who they are supporting and what design they should expect when they are making purchases.
The truth is, credit lies with the one who designed it first. Then, if the original designer wishes to license out their design all is on the up and up.
Sure, I could provide you with a list of potential cloth diaper “clones” but my goal isn’t to blacklist brands or play sides. Simply realize that crazy things like copying someone’s design and pretending it is your own really does happen!
- I desire everyone to cloth diaper their children. If you can’t afford a Made in the USA pocket, all in one or fitted cloth diaper I will gladly recommend some excellent quality prefolds and flats. I’ll even tell you where you can buy an adorable Made in the USA cover or how to make one.
- Buying Made In China isn’t evil.
- There are cloth diapers coming out of China that are reproductions or slightly modified reproductions of US patented cloth diapers.
- I love to support WAHMs. Even ones that move their production overseas.
- No where in this post am I saying not to buy a cloth diaper made in China or even a clone/copycat diaper. However, I am encouraging you to give thought to your purchase.